For the latest construction information, make sure you are signed up for updates at the Purple Line Transit Partners.
Do you have questions about the Purple Line construction process? We now have a new host of answers from the Montgomery County Council Briefing to the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment (T &E) Committee. Follow the link below for an update to a list posted last week with responses from the Maryland Transit Administration and the concessionaire (The Purple Line Transit Partners) as well as many new questions from across Montgomery County, with a good number of answers relevant to Prince George's County, as well.
If you want to know even more, check out questions 1 and 2 for official project points of contact and the last page for who to talk to in the Montgomery County government.
Now that ground has broken, you may be wondering what's left to do to make the Purple Line a reality? Turns out, quite a bit is going on and we need your help now that the difficult work of construction has begun.
In the coming months, we will be gathering positive Purple Line stories - what are you looking forward to most about the Purple Line? How will it make your commute easier? Please share your story not only with us, but with the local news media. There will understandably be plenty of stories about the difficulties of construction, so we want to make sure we balance the scales and keep our eye on the purple prize! Take a moment to write a letter of support for the Purple Line to the editor of the Washington Post and help us make sure the community knows all of the benefits the light rail will bring to our area. Thank you in advance!
In the meantime, here are some items you may be interested in:
- We are hoping to bring you news of the Community Advisory Team (CAT) meetings soon - we are told that all CAT neighborhood teams will have at least one meeting before the Thanksgiving holiday. Stay tuned - as soon as we get the full schedule, we'll publish links to the details.
- If you weren't able to be at the Montgomery County Council Transportation Committee's briefing on the Purple Line with Purple Line Transit Partners (the concessionaire) and Maryland Transit Authority, here's a video of the meeting: Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment.
- Are you looking for alternative biking routes now that the Georgetown Branch Trail has closed? Try this link from our good friends at WABA: Georgetown Branch Detour Options.
- Action Committee for Transit's monthly meeting on October 10, 7:30 p.m. is free and open to the public. The topic this month is: Transit, Obesity, and Health with Jennifer Roberts from the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
And finally, some great ideas for upcoming events in Purple Line communities:
- Celebrate Silver Spring's First Protected Bike Lanes at a ribbon cutting on Saturday, October 14, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Woodside Urban Park in Silver Spring.
- Plan to have some fun at the Takoma Langley Crossroads Diwali Festival, on Sunday, October 15, 2017, 12 noon-6:00 p.m., rain or shine, FREE. In just a few short years, the Purple Line will connect this terrific community to points east and west.
Purple Line NOW is working hard to bring you news of construction plans, an update on the ongoing lawsuit, as well as good news stories about the Purple Line in the coming months. As always, we exist because of your generosity - as we head into the autumn season, we hope that you'll remember Purple Line NOW in your giving plans. We are grateful for all of your help - what an exciting summer this has been!
The announcement of the closure of Georgetown Branch trail has led to concerns about notice, duration, and the alternatives available. Purple Line NOW supports calls for quality pedestrian and bicycle detours during construction on the Georgetown Branch trail. Although closure of the trail is disruptive to users, we remind everyone that this disruption will ultimately result in a light rail connection between Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, and New Carrollton, and a finally completed Capital Crescent Trail from Silver Spring to Bethesda. The expanded and improved trail will be eight feet wide and paved along its entire length. It is also important to note that the interim Capital Crescent Trail has existed for so many years because transit advocates pushed decades ago for the purchase of the right-of-way for use as BOTH a hiker-biker trail and a light rail connection.
Unfortunately, the lawsuit filed by project opponents has delayed the onset of construction by a year, which has directly resulted in an accelerated construction timeline and a host of additional complications. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated the project’s approval, and the District Court determined that the environmental complaints were without merit. However, legal vindication cannot restore the lost year - nearly a sixth of the estimated project time - nor the estimated $150 million cost of the delay, which were sacrificed in a relentless stalling campaign by project opponents.
We are sympathetic to citizen complaints about the Jones Mill detour route, and Purple Line NOW supports efforts to negotiate an official route through the Town of Chevy Chase that would mitigate many of these concerns. As this is being resolved, we would highlight the efforts of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, which has identified a range of preferable options immediately available to cyclists.
We have been hearing a range of questions from our members about the construction process, seeking explanation about the extent of the closure and information about when construction may affect their neighborhoods or business districts. The challenges and confusion resulting from lawsuit-induced delays also highlights the need for official mechanisms for coordinating between citizens, Maryland, and the concessionaire. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) initiated a process last year of Community Advisory Teams (CATS) that were put on hold due to the plaintiff lawsuit. We are hoping the CATS will provide a critical communication link between the project developers and the impacted communities and we wrote to the Maryland Department of Transportation before ground-breaking, urging them to convene these teams as soon as possible.
We have long anticipated that the onset of construction would bring new challenges, though in this case these were magnified by delays imposed by plaintiffs at every step of the process. Nonetheless, regardless of the source of these challenges, we intend to do our part to collect and share official statements and support the efforts of those seeking to mitigate disruptions while maximizing the benefit of this necessary east-west transit connection and completion of the hiker-biker trail network.